Medical research

Study shows mouse cerebellum quite different from human

An international team of researchers has found that the mouse cerebellum may not be a good model for the human cerebellum in brain studies. In their study published in the journal Science, the group describes their comparison ...

Medical research

New method visualizes groups of neurons as they compute

Using a fluorescent probe that lights up when brain cells are electrically active, MIT and Boston University researchers have shown that they can image the activity of many neurons at once, in the brains of mice.

Oncology & Cancer

Study fingers new player in cancer immunity

The immune system must strike an exquisite balance between vanquishing infections and cancer, while at the same time restraining its activity to avoid inadvertently attacking the body's healthy tissues and organs.

Oncology & Cancer

Scientists unveil the secret of cancer-associated Warburg effect

A new study, led by researchers at the University of Chicago, provides an answer to why cancer cells consume and use nutrients differently than their healthy counterparts and how that difference contributes to their survival ...

Oncology & Cancer

Clues to improve cancer immunotherapy revealed

Cancer immunotherapy drugs trigger the body's immune system to attack tumors and have revolutionized the treatment of certain cancers, such as lymphoma, lung cancer and melanoma. Yet, while some patients respond well to the ...

Oncology & Cancer

Uncovering the pathway to colon cancer

The hidden world of genetic changes, or mutations, in healthy colon tissue has been uncovered by scientists at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and their collaborators. The team developed technology to sequence the genomes of ...

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Cell (biology)

The cell is the structural and functional unit of all known living organisms. It is the smallest unit of an organism that is classified as living, and is often called the building block of life. Some organisms, such as most bacteria, are unicellular (consist of a single cell). Other organisms, such as humans, are multicellular. (Humans have an estimated 100 trillion or 1014 cells; a typical cell size is 10 µm; a typical cell mass is 1 nanogram.) The largest known cell is an unfertilized ostrich egg cell.

In 1835 before the final cell theory was developed, a Czech Jan Evangelista Purkyně observed small "granules" while looking at the plant tissue through a microscope. The cell theory, first developed in 1839 by Matthias Jakob Schleiden and Theodor Schwann, states that all organisms are composed of one or more cells. All cells come from preexisting cells. Vital functions of an organism occur within cells, and all cells contain the hereditary information necessary for regulating cell functions and for transmitting information to the next generation of cells.

The word cell comes from the Latin cellula, meaning, a small room. The descriptive name for the smallest living biological structure was chosen by Robert Hooke in a book he published in 1665 when he compared the cork cells he saw through his microscope to the small rooms monks lived in.

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